Jordan, Bulls too much for Iverson's 44


Scottie Pippen's unselfishness results in a Randy Brown dunk.
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CHICAGO -- Michael Jordan scored 12 of his 30 points in a game-breaking run that closed the third quarter as the Chicago Bulls defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 128-102 on Monday night.

It was the 15th straight win for the Bulls over the 76ers.

Michael Jordan
Scottie Pippen scored 28 points and Ron Harper had a season-high 22 for the Bulls, who used their second-best offensive output of the season to overcome a career-high 44 points by 76ers guard Allen Iverson. It was the most points by any rookie in the NBA this season.

"I'm sure all the guys who are in it feel they deserve it; so do I," Iverson said of the Rookie of the Year race. "Many things are written about me that are negative and not true. To win the Rookie of the Year honor would be great for me and my family."

Chicago, which has clinched homecourt advantage throughout the NBA playoffs, has won 11 of its last 12 games. The Bulls need four wins in their last six games to reach 70 victories for the second straight season.

"We had to get it out of the way and put us in a position to be able to play a lot of games in Chicago," Jordan said. "It doesn't guarantee us anything, you know. But we certainly have done well in this building the last two years."

Clarence Weatherspoon had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the 76ers, who have lost four in a row overall and have not beaten the Bulls since Dec. 8, 1993.

Since arguing with Bulls stars Jordan, Pippen and Dennis Rodman in the club's initial meeting, Iverson has averaged 37.7 points in three games against the defending NBA champions.

"I get up for them every time I play against them," Iverson said. "They are a great basketball team. I don't see anyone beating them. I get a lot of negativity from them, but then I don't really care what anyone says about me. I just go play my game."

Allen Iverson
The Sixers took their last lead at 71-69 on Weatherspoon's hoop with 6:20 left in the third quarter, but the Bulls closed the period with an 18-6 burst. Jordan scored 12 points, including a a fadeaway 3-pointer at the buzzer to push the advantage to 87-77.

"It was a fun night, especially in the third quarter," Jordan said. "Phil (Jackson, Bulls coach) did not want us to get into an up-and-down game with them, but they play such an up-tempo game, we had no choice."

Jordan did not play in the final period, but Chicago didn't need him. After Weatherspoon opened the quarter with two foul shots, the Bulls scored the next 11 points. A 3-pointer and jumper by Steve Kerr, Harper's 3-pointer and another 3-pointer by Kerr gave Chicago a 98-79 bulge with 8:45 remaining.

"I got to watch Iverson a lot in the fourth quarter," Jordan said. "He has some tremendous skills."

"They had the momentum from playing at home," Iverson said. "Then they got in the rhythm of hitting their 3s in the third and fourth quarter. That's when they took the game over."

Chicago's largest lead was the final margin. It matched the most points allowed this season by Philadelphia, which has given up 120 or more points eight times this season.

Kerr scored 15 points and Luc Longley added 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulls, who shot 49.5 percent (53-of-107) from the field and held a 66-32 rebounding advantage. Chicago was 12-of-22 from 3-point range.

Jerry Stackhouse scored 17 points and Mark Davis added 13 for the Sixers, who shot 43 percent (38-of-88). Iverson shot 16-of-32, including 6-of-14 from beyond the arc, and added eight assists.

"Michael's shot at the end of the third period was a big one for them," Sixers coach Johnny Davis said. "It gave them a 10-point lead and the momentum."

Jordan's nine points helped Chicago to a 28-19 lead after one quarter, but Iverson scored 15 in the second period, cutting Chicago's lead to 57-54 at halftime.

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